Beacon's Egg Hunt In Memorial Park Canceled Due To Saturday Rain

This image originally appeared in  A Little Beacon Blog’s Instagram Stories .

This image originally appeared in A Little Beacon Blog’s Instagram Stories.

This just in from the Beacon Recreation newsletter:

“Egg Hunt at Memorial Park scheduled for Saturday April 20th WILL BE CANCELLED.

“In keeping participant and volunteer safety and enjoyment our number one priority we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event due to forecasted weather.

“With no scheduled rain date it is our hope to raffle bicycles and goodies later this Spring at an event to be determined. Stay tuned.

“Happy Easter and Happy Passover.”

To get future updates from Beacon Recreation, you can subscribe to their free newsletter here. Updates include events, classes, After School Program registration notices, and Summer Pool signup alerts.

Common Ground Farm's Opening of the Fields Event

Common Ground Farm invites visitors for a contemplative walk through the early spring fields on Saturday April 13th at 1pm. The walk will be guided by Farm Director, Sarah Simon, with reflection and commentary shared from the faith traditions of food access partners and community leaders, including: Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek of Beacon Hebrew Alliance, Lt. Leilani Rodríguez-Alarcón of Salvation Army, Pastor Ben Larson-Wolbrink of First Presbyterian Church, Pastor Bill Dandreano of Salem Tabernacle, and Sarah Capua.

Everyone Welcome To Celebrate The Growing Season

The Opening of the Fields walk is an opportunity to appreciate the potential abundance of the fields as well to reflect upon the changes and uncertainty inherent in nature. Farming can be isolating work, and the farmers look forward to sharing the springtime activities on a Hudson Valley vegetable farm. Visitors can park by the red barns and meet the group by the picnic tables. Hot tea and snacks will be provided, and guests are welcome to stay and picnic afterwards if the weather is fine. The event is free and open to all. Common Ground Farm welcomes everyone to visit the farm and help celebrate the start of the growing season.

Farm Director, Sarah Simon states, “Both hope and uncertainty shape the beginning of the growing season on the farm. The traces of last year's labor have faded, winter has claimed what was once green and lush, and the farm is just beginning to wake up again as the soil starts to warm and the sun begins to shine.”

About Common Ground Farm

Common Ground Farm is a community farm dedicated to food justice, which donates produce to six different local food pantries and soup kitchens each week during their growing season. This event is an opportunity for the farm’s valued community partners to visit the place where the produce is grown, and to see the fields that will feed their communities from May until November. Many of the soup kitchens and food pantries are organized by religious organizations, and on the walk the farm has invited the leaders of these churches, synagogues, and mosques to share blessings and teachings about nature, food and land from their traditions. There will also be non-denominational teachings and blessings shared by community members.

Common Ground Farm donates weekly to the following food pantries:

  • Beacon Community Kitchen

  • Fishkill Food Pantry

  • First Presbyterian in Wappingers Falls

  • New Vision Church of Deliverance

  • St Andrews Episcopal Church in Beacon

  • Occasionally to: Salvation Army in Beacon, Dutchess Outreach in Poughkeepsie

Bingo Night At Hudson Valley Brewery To Raise Money For Playground at JV Forrestal Elementary

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It’s Bingo Night (adults only) at Hudson Valley Brewery on Thursday, May 2nd from 7-10pm, an event to raise money for playground improvements for JV Forrestal Elementary, hosted by that school’s PTSO. According to the poster, there will be Raffles! and Fun! If you’ve ever been to a school fundraiser at the brewery, you’ll remember that the raffle is no joke. It’s one you want to enter and buy more than one Bingo card for.

Kids in all of Beacon’s elementary schools love their outdoor recess and playground time, and it is with the support of the community that these playgrounds grow to add new equipment, landscaping, outdoor teaching opportunities, and more. All are welcome to attend and participate. Not limited to JV Forrestal Elementary families.

PS: This posted was designed by the talented Steven Blumenthal, who is a dad at JV Forrestal, and is the designer behind the new sign on our building, the Telephone Building, as well as the designer behind Beacon Made, illustrations at Club Draw, and other images you may recognize.

This event has been added to A Little Beacon Blog’s Beacon Public School’s Opportunities Guide. There are some opportunities that involve no money at all.

Ticket price: $10 in advance/$15 at the door
Ticket price includes one bingo card
Additional bingo cards available for purchase
Information >

Last Chance To Purge Your Kid Stuff For A Cause: Ree Play Sale Accepting Toys/Clothing/Gear

Photo Credits: Wee Play Community Project

Photo Credits: Wee Play Community Project

Going on now is prep work for the annual Ree Play Sale, from the Wee Play Community Project, one of the best affordable kid stuff weekend sales around. Best part is: your purchases of kid stuff goes directly to funding kid spaces in Beacon, including the playgrounds at the public parks, as well as some programming at the Library and Rec Center by way of the blue Blocks Project and Lego Club. The Wee Play Project was started many years ago by volunteering parents, and continues today as the torch is passed from graduating parents to younger parents.

Ways To Help: Sort, Bake, Work, Shop

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The first way to help and get involved is to donate your stuff. Collection for this yearly event is going on now - so this is your chance. Bring your stuff to the University Settlement Camp: 724 Wolcott Avenue. This is also the location of the Beacon Pool and Frisbee golf (but up the dirt road, just beyond it).

If getting your stuff together now is overwhelming, either take the plunge, and then start a pile in your attic or basement that you put things in over the year. This makes getting all of your Ree Play stuff really easy.

If you’ve got nothing to donate, another way you can be involved is to Bake, or Shop. Shopping is the easiest! But sorting through everything is really important, and the best time to make new friends. The actual sale is April 26, 27, 28.

Trauma Note: To not traumatize your kids that you are now purging all of their old clothes, toys, games, dolls, sports stuff, etc., involve them in the process. Stuff can be emotional. Explain where the things are going. Give them the option to donate, or to keep. As they know, the room can fill up, and the only way to make room for new treasures is to give your treasure to someone else, or keep it in a forever place in your house. It might be exciting to think that their old plastic basketball hoop will help buy a new swing at Memorial or Green Street Park.

Great Way To Meet People

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New parents often want to meet new people and build their community, and bringing your stuff to the Ree Play sale is a great way to do that. If you have nothing to donate, you could sort. It’s easy, no pressure, sorting clothes into piles, or shoes onto shelves, or games into a lineup. Plus, if you sort, you might get first dibs on purchasing new/old stuff.

Times To Donate

Most of the times to donate or volunteer are announced on Instagram or Facebook. If you’re not on Facebook, then Instagram would be the best way for you to see times that they post. Most donation and sorting times are volunteer based. In other words, can only happen if someone has volunteered to be there. Maybe that’s you!

Recent Projects Ree Play Has Been Behind

Lots of what you have seen outside in Beacon’s parks has had an injection of Ree Play Sale cash to support it. The most recent project is the Wee Woods. This is a mini woods-within-woods scene behind the playground at Memorial Park, designed by One Nature with community input. There are natural playthings like logs and willow arches.

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Follow Wee Play’s Instagram or FaceBook for updates. They do have a newsletter which you could subscribe to here. If making newsletters is your thing, volunteer to send theirs a bunch!

Don’t wait on this. Donate your stuff today or this week!

No Joke - The Locks Change At The Dog Park Every April 1! Registration Open Now

Every April 1st, the locks change on the Dog Park in Beacon, which overlooks Memorial park and Ron’s Ice Cream along Fishkill Avenue. Every evolving, the Beacon Dog Park has changed things up by adding online registration, and introducing a new partnership with Brett’s Hardware for the keys.

New Registration Process For Beacon Dog Park

The 2019 registration process has changed in two important ways this year:

  1. the application process has moved online, and

  2. there is a new process for distributing keys and membership tags to the park.

To provide added convenience and enhance member experience, the registration process has moved online at www.beacondogpark.org/membership.

Eligibility for Membership

All dogs must meet the basic requirements of the park, meaning that they must be:

  • spayed or neutered

  • have a current rabies vaccination

  • licensed in their home municipality

  • never have acted in an aggressive or threatening way toward other dogs or people.

Prospective members can complete an application, upload required documents, and provide payment all through the park's website. Full-year membership for an owner and one dog is $55, plus $10 for each additional pup. All major credit/debit cards will be accepted. Membership fees provide the operating funds for the park. Members will get a confirmation email when their application has been approved.

The Big News On Keys

There is a new process for distributing up keys and membership tags to the park. Each year, members of the dog park are provided with a key to the park gate and a membership tag that their dog must wear while in the park. For 2019, they are introducing a new key distribution partner, Brett's Hardware in Beacon.

Members can pick up keys and tags at Brett's Hardware during regular business hours. Key/tag distributors won't be able to review applications or process payments on site. Please apply online before going to pick up keys and tags.

Beacon Dog Park Voted Best Dog Park In The Hudson Valley 2018

Beacon Dog Park was voted the 2018 Best Dog Park in Hudson Valley by Hudson Valley Magazine. The dog park provides the residents of Beacon and the surrounding area a place to come play with and exercise their dog(s) that’s safe, secure, and enjoyable. The Friends of Beacon Dog Park is a 501/c3 not-for-profit organization that maintains the community-funded Beacon Dog Park.

Visit beacondogpark.org for more information.

City of Beacon's Earlier Response To Aging Infrastructure Of Water and Sewer Pipes

Aging Infrastructure At Local Levels

Prior to today’s water main break, Beacon had a sewer main break on February 24, 2019, as first reported by the Highlands Current, releasing thousands of gallons of partially treated sewage near Fishkill Creek in Beacon, according to state officials mentioned in the article. Drinking water supplies were not impacted, according to the article.

In May of 2018 a sewer line broke under Main Street and Tioronda Avenue in Beacon, causing waste to back up into the basements of some shops, and the closure of Main Street in that section during repair.

According to reporter Jeff Simms of the Highlands Current in a March 15, 2019 article: “Aging infrastructure — in many cases dating back a century or longer — is a major challenge for municipalities around the country. Because miles of pipe rest, in some cases, a dozen feet or more underground, repairs or replacement is expensive. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates it will cost $271 billion over the next 25 years to upgrade the nation’s wastewater infrastructure. And, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 95 percent of that spending will be at the local level.”

2019 Investment Planned For Beacon Water and Sewer Infrastructure Upgrades

On March 4th, 2019, Beacon’s City Council voted to approve monies being spent on upgrading water and sewer systems.

During the March 4 City Council meeting, City Administrator Anthony Ruggiero delivered a report on actions the City of Beacon is taking to repair February’s sewer main break. He also indicated that precautionary steps would be taken, with the city preemptively inspecting more pipe. From his report, for those who like details on how something is fixed, this a breakdown of what went on underground after the break. At ground-level, it’s easy to see a road get split, and then patched. But what goes on underground? Anthony breaks it out:

 

Tam Enterprises was called in to install a bypass pump to relieve the sewer main to stop the overflow, which it did. City staff excavated the main, and found the top half of the pipe had eroded, leaving the top section of the pipe brittle. We determined that at this point they bypass through the night and requested that Tam return the next day and evaluate the condition of the pipe and begin emergency repair.

“Tam televised the section of the pipe that was being bypassed, and found remaining sections of the pipe in the same condition as the collapse, so upon further inspection it was determined that three manhole sections were deteriorated, so it looked like it was a larger section, which we were afraid of.

“Currently Tam is in the process of replacing 100 feet of the 14” pipe with 15” plastic sewer drain pipe. So we’re upgrading it to modern standards. They have been alternating use of the bypass by replacing the sewer main. The Water Department Staff has replaced 25 feet of 4” cast-iron pipe with the new 4” ductile iron pipe and replaced the water connections to 150 Wilson Street. Tam is setting up a road bridge at the intersection of Round Tree and Liberty to allow traffic flow.

“Once the new pipe is installed and the manholes are set, the remaining 14” ACP will be slip-lined to prevent any further collapse. Since this is not a standard size, we’ve had to order this. It is a three-week lead time, which we are already one week in. So hopefully in the next couple of weeks we will have this material.

“Also, I’ve instructed the Water and Sewer Department for any of this type of ACP pipe that we may have out there for us to TV to see how they are holding up, as a precaution. We are taking immediate actions and steps on this, and it will be resolved in the next couple weeks.”

 

Mayor Randy Casale Says Sewer and Water Main Breaks Not Unique To Beacon

After the City Administrator gave his report at the March 4 City Council meeting, the Mayor contributed to the conversation as monies are spent to upgrade aging infrastructure:

 

“It is not unique to see a pipe collapse in any one of the communities. We are upgrading and we have spent a lot of money on our sewer system over the last seven or eight years, and we will continue to spend that money to upgrade the sewer and water system. We are putting an Asset Management Plan together, which will hopefully put us in a position to do some planning ahead to be job-ready to get grants to upgrade them.

“This is not unique to any old city along the Hudson River. If anybody believes it is, they are living in Fairy Land. Read the Newburgh paper, see how many collapses they had right across the river. Read the Poughkeepsie paper. Read down in Yonkers. It happens all over, from New York City to Albany because everyone has an old infrastructure because the taxpayers couldn’t afford to dig up every pipe and put new pipe. They’ve been in the ground for 100 years.

“We’re working at it. As we get more income, we’ll do a better job at it. And we will continue to work at it. I want the public to know that. If they think that this situation was done through development, the last I looked at this City, there hasn’t been a lot of development up in that area.

“I know people want to blame it on development, but development hasn’t caused the problem. What has caused the problem is that the pipes have been in the ground for over 100 years, and nobody has put money into upgrading the infrastructure anywhere, throughout the United States. It’s one of the places the government puts the least amount of money - into infrastructure improvement. Pick up the national papers across the country. It’s not unique to this city.”

 

Water Main Break In Beacon On Rte. 52 Near Dunkin' Donuts Thursday Morning

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

On Thursday morning in Beacon, a water main broke on Route 52 near Dunkin’ Donuts, causing traffic jams for the morning commute. One parent of middle schoolers at Rombout Middle School said she was stuck in traffic, and thought it was a result of the Beacon High School re-opening after Wednesday’s closure. But after learning about the water main break, she realized that could have been the problem.

“The road was closed from Prospect Avenue in Fishkill to Blackburn Avenue” (in Beacon, by Ron’s Ice Cream), confirmed Anthony Ruggiero, the City Administrator for Beacon. By 11:30 am, cars were being routed for one lane of traffic, and by 12 pm the road was open and the break fixed. The Beacon Highway Department was on it like bonnets to close up the street and sweep it.

The Barking Frog, located across the street and down the road a bit from Dunkin’ Donuts, was pleased with Beacon’s response, saying via A Little Beacon Blog’s Instagram: “Great job guys! We were so happy to be able to open this afternoon!!!!”

If you noticed low water pressure this morning, it was a result of the water main break, confirmed Anthony when we inquired. No one lost water, he added.

The City of Beacon gave an overview of water and sewer pipe infrastructure in Beacon, and the city’s current and future plans to upgrade it during the March 4, 2019, City Council meeting. You can read about that here in this article on A Little Beacon Blog. The article includes a breakdown of what was done to address the sewer pipe break back in February 2019.

Local Vendors Wanted For Poughkeepsie Waterfront Market 2019 Season

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The Poughkeepsie Waterfront Market is seeking vendors for its 2019 Farmers Market, which will kick off on Monday, June 3, at 3 pm in the Pavilion at the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum at 75 North Water Street in Poughkeepsie. The market will run weekly on Monday afternoons from 3 to 6:30 pm, from June through Labor Day in a fully-covered open-air pavilion that is just steps away from the Hudson River, with a stunning view of the Walkway Over The Hudson bridge.

Vendors Wanted - Deadline April 15 for Early Bird Discount

Vendor applications are now being accepted for the sale of fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs, poultry, and baked goods from local Hudson Valley farms, as well as locally produced soaps and body products, wool products, bee products and other agriculturally related items. This year, the Poughkeepsie Waterfront Market seeks to expand its product lines to include Hudson Valley-produced beer, wine, cider and spirits, as well as hand-crafted kitchenware items created by local artisans.

Interested vendors are encouraged to apply by Monday, April 15, to receive an early bird discount.

For vendor guidelines, as well as application instructions, please visit mhcm.org/visit/poughkeepsie-waterfront-market/call-for-vendors.

The market is a lively, weekly, public celebration of the Hudson Valley. It also features entertainment provided by a variety of local musicians each week. In addition, “Kid’s Kitchen,” a healthy eating program for children will be held weekly at the market, free of charge.

Certified SNAP & WIC Payments Market

The Poughkeepsie Waterfront Market is a certified SNAP market. It accepts both SNAP and WIC payments, ensuring the affordability of fresh produce and farm products for low-income individuals and families. With support from MVP Healthcare, the market implemented an Electronic Transfer (EBT) system, enabling income-eligible market patrons to use their SNAP benefits from a government-issued debit card.

Small Museum Taking On Big Issues

The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum (MHCM) is the first children’s museum in the country to open and operate a public farmers market. The market opened in 2017 to connect city residents and families with fresh, affordable and locally produced food as a strategy for fighting urban food insecurity and advancing community health. As a small museum taking on big issues, the MHCM is planning an expansion, which includes enclosing the open-air pavilion, enabling the market to be held year-round, filling a need for fresh food in Poughkeepsie.

The Poughkeepsie Waterfront Market is steps away from both the Poughkeepsie Train Station and the Walkway Over the Hudson elevator, making the market accessible to city residents, families visiting the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, tourists and commuters alike. The pavilion that hosts the market is fully covered, and offers public restrooms and free onsite parking at the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum during market hours.

For vendor guidelines, as well as application instructions, please visit mhcm.org/visit/poughkeepsie-waterfront-market/call-for-vendors.

Racist and Anti-Semitic Flyers Put On Every Pole On Beacon's Main Street In January - But You Never Saw Them. Here's Why:

UPDATE: 3/20/2019 The City of Beacon has since issued a response, telling people that if they see something like this, it needs to be reported to the police department for enforcement. Please see below for full quote.

Back in January of this year, when we were all adjusting to the new year and starting our new resolutions, racist and anti-Semitic flyers were posted to every telephone and light pole on Main Street in Beacon, from the east end (Bank Square Coffee) to the west end (Trax Coffee Roasters). But you never saw them.

Within a 12-hour period, two citizens of Beacon, who wish to remain anonymous, noticed the flyers and ripped every single one down with their bare hands. Bare hands is notable, because some flyers were affixed with strong adhesive, like a spray glue, and required prying all of the corners of the paper to remove it. Glue indicates that the hanger of the flyer wanted it to stay up for a long time. Other flyers were stapled to poles. The flyers were from PatriotFront, a well-known white supremacist hate group.

The day was cold but sunny. The two Beaconites were headed to meet each other for lunch, each from the other side of town. Each of these citizens happens to have studied graphic design and has a familiarity with art history. As they walked towards each other, some eye-catching flyers on the lamp posts and telephone poles caught their eyes. The visual graphic design was well done, they both noted internally, and kept walking.

The Meaning Behind The Markings

After passing more than a few flyers, including one on the Star of Bethlehem Baptist Church near Bank Square, the meaning behind the markings on the flyers struck them. The flyer series was promoting anti-immigrant sentiment, anti-Native American, anti-anything that was not white supremacist. Some might call it anti-people, some might call it fascist.

“The symbolism was disguised,” said one of the citizens who tore down the flyers. With a background in design, the Beaconite was aware of banned symbolism and disguised imagery used by white supremacist groups (read about disguised white supremacist imagery here in Foreign Policy). “Because the flyers covered more than one topic, they seemed to be recruitment flyers,” concluded the Beaconite. “The website of where they came from was prominently displayed across the bottom, so that someone could clearly see where to get more information.”

“Does White Supremacy Really Happen In Beacon?”

One evening during a regular City Council meeting, a gentleman approached the podium during the Public Comment period to complain about a large sign that hung on a building on Hanna Lane. The sign read: “Resist White Supremacy; Vote on November 6, 2018.” The gentleman was visiting Memorial Park with his friends, and was embarrassed to see the sign. “Is this really Beacon?” he asked.

That sign has become controversial and has prompted the City Council to deeply study its zoning laws on signs. The City Council has not yet come to a conclusion, as laws on signage are complicated in order to protect freedom of speech, as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Being that the two Beaconites took down the racist and anti-Semitic signs that anyone visiting would have seen on the Main Street utility poles, chances are this person would not have seen these signs that encouraged white supremacy, and would have continued with his day, thinking that a white supremacist movement had not tried to move its way into this community.

Just Down The Road, Haldane Graduate and 2 Other Local Teenagers Arrested For Anti-Semitic Graffiti In Nelsonville’s October 2018 Swastika Incident

In October, a series of hate-fueled events happened: anti-Semitic flyers were hung on churches in Beacon, and at universities in the Hudson Valley including Marist College, Dutchess Community College, and Vassar. A suspect was found by police, who allegedly hung the flyers while wearing rubber gloves.

In October 2018, a swastika was sprayed onto the home that is owned by a Jewish man in Nelsonville. So far, three teenagers have been arrested for that crime. One teenager is a male who is 18, and is a graduate of Haldane High School in Cold Spring. He was arrested in February 2019, and just appeared in court last week. The other two were arrested in December 2018, one from Philipstown and the other from an unspecified location. They are 18 and 17 years old.

What To Do When Racist or Anti-Semitic Flyers Are Found

If someone sees something like this, it needs to be reported to the Police Department so enforcement can be taken.
— Anthony J. Ruggiero, M.P.A., City Administrator for the City of Beacon

The first response of the citizens who tore down the flyers was to call the Beacon Police. The officer who took the call suggested that they call the Building Department to complain. “I let the officer know that I wasn’t really complaining, but rather informing that white supremacist material was all over the street,” said the citizen. According to the citizen, the officer’s response was: “There’s really nothing we can do.”

A Little Beacon Blog inquired with the City of Beacon’s City Administrator, Anthony Ruggiero, about if there is anything to do about flyers. “It is a violation of city code to put flyers of any kind on a telephone or light pole. It would be a violation the Building Department could issue if we knew who it was.”

So there you have it. Now you know. A Tom Petty song comes to mind: “Don’t come around here no more.” Parents: Keep talking to your kids. Teachers: Thank you for teaching our kids about hate crimes of the past, so that they can identify and defeat them in the present.

K104.7's Cupcake Festival Moves From Beacon To Stormville Airport

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UPDATED 3/20/3019: The City of Beacon has since issued a response to our inquiry about the 2019 Cupcake Festival decision. Please see below for that quote from the City Administrator.

K104.7’s annual Cupcake Festival has moved from the Main Streets of Fishkill for a few years, then to Beacon for two years, and now is at the Stormville Airport, which is also known for the Stormville Airport Antique Show and Flea Market. The Cupcake Festival is wildly popular, attracting bakers from all over the state to compete for a chance to be considered at the final judging table to take home a cash prize.

We were hoping to come back to Beacon this year but given the growing attendance and space/parking constraints, we had to look elsewhere. We’re looking forward to keeping it in the county and growing the festival in new and exciting ways.
— Zach Higgins, Non-Traditional Revenue Director, Pamal Broadcasting

Attendance to the event has been growing, and possibly grew out of Fishkill, triggering the radio station to consider Beacon. For two years, the festival was hosted in downtown Beacon on Main Street, shutting down the street and leading to an elbow-to-elbow sugared-up experience (parents know how difficult it can be to maneuver children past tables and tables of cupcakes and lemonade).

We reached out to Pamal Broadcasting, the hosts of the event and owners of K104.7, to learn more: “We had met with the City [of Beacon], and after discussing all the particulars, it was in the best interest of both parties to change the location. The two years the festival was in Beacon catapulted this event to the next level and we are very grateful for the city and what it had to offer,” said Zach Higgins, Non-Traditional Revenue Director for Pamal Broadcasting.

The attendance estimates for this year seemed more than the City could handle in parking and safety constraints. We would love to have them back, but wish them continued success and hope to work with them on other projects in the future.
— Anthony J. Ruggiero, M.P.A. City Administrator

The City of Beacon’s City Administrator, Anthony Ruggiero, had this to say: “The City had an incredible working relationship with Pamal Broadcasting and their success was our success. However the attendance estimates for this year seemed more than the City could handle in parking and safety constraints. We would love to have them back, but wish them continued success and hope to work with them on other projects in the future.”

How Was The Cupcake Festival In Beacon?

A Little Beacon Blog did a an unscientific economic study of the Cupcake Festival on businesses in town in 2017. Most eateries did extremely well that day, while boutiques reported a mixed experience. One retail store who had been a vocal opponent of the Cupcake Festival in its first year, raved about it the day after the first festival came and went, after the day’s sales came in, calling the day “as good as Christmas," which in retail-sales speak means a very good day.

However, other businesses were not as pleased, including an art gallery owner who found it difficult to keep children away from touchable artwork inside the gallery, and other retail stores who saw lots of lookers, but no buyers. Citizens experienced a deluge of cars parked near their homes, sometimes blocking driveways. To read more about the 2017 cupcake experience, click here. To see pictures from 2018’s cupcakes, click here.

Trash was well-contained for the most part, though residential complaints about overflowing trash cans after most spring/summer weekends with or without events prompted the City to accept the offer from the trash collection company, Royal Carting, to replace the metal trash cans on Main Street, letting go of the two-hole approach for recycling and trash, in favor of a larger hole for all waste.

Now that the recycling market has crashed, and most recycling in this country isn’t getting recycled due to it being dirty (food waste on plastic makes it non-recyclable) or wet (soggy newspapers or cardboard can’t be recycled), this can replacement seems to be containing trash better. A Little Beacon Blog does have an article coming on this, and you can read more about it in the Highlands Current.

Parade-A-Month Keeps Beacon Touchable By Citizens

Beacon is known to have a parade every month from spring to fall, so this is one less event to keep track of on the calendar (well, in town, that is… you could still drive out to Stormville!), but there are new events coming to Beacon at the Riverfront, in addition to the usual annual events and fundraisers that keep the community in Beacon together.

See A Little Beacon Blog’s Events Calendar, Classes For Adults Guide, and Classes For Kids Guide for lots of events you want to plan for. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay in the loop and get emailed about opportunities.

Where Is Stormville, Anyway?

If you need a quick map on where Stormville is, here’s a picture of the map. It’s *that* way! Good luck to any bakers entering the contest, or vendors vending on the big day!

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Registration Easier Now For Beacon Recreation Childcare, Camp and Pool Membership

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Beacon Recreation’s newsletter announcing the new online registration tool.

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Beacon Recreation’s newsletter announcing the new online registration tool.

One wouldn’t think that the announcement of the City of Beacon Recreation’s new online registration and payment tool would warrant such celebration, but it is an enhancement that saves time for everyone. Several key elements of registration are now available in one place, including payment, emergency contact information, medical information, and more.

Visiting Beacon Rec headquarters is pleasant enough - driving or walking over to the Beacon Recreation Department at 23 West Center Street is always a pleasure, because one gets to see Heidi, Mark, Nate or other employees of the Beacon Rec Department. You might even run into members of Green Teen, who also have an office in the building. But if you, like many parents, are juggling a lot of to-dos, online registration relieves a measurable amount of stress - a worthy trade-off. Plus, you can always head over to the Beacon Recreation building and play at the South Street playground, sled down the hill, or shoot hoops or hit a tennis ball on the courts below.

Pre-Planning Time For Registration Cut In Half

The pre-planning to register is involved, as one needs to fill out emergency contact information for each child when registering them each quarter for the After School Program, a popular childcare program for Beacon’s elementary schools that runs from 3 to 6 pm. To keep up with the paperwork, I’ve actually made several backup emergency contact copies at home with our printer/copier, and I’ve felt quite pleased with myself for the advance prep.

“No need for that anymore,” says Nate Smith, City of Beacon Assistant Recreation Director. “Unless you change something, contact information will be the same. Pick your days of After School Program that you want to sign your children up for, and off you go.” Tuition assistance is available to qualifying families. So do inquire if you need that. Spots do fill up fast, and each quarter is a new signup even if you were already enrolled in the prior session.

For Camp at the Camp, the popular summer program from the Beacon Recreation Department, registration forms once again are involved, and this time they include medical information.” Unlike the contact info, you’ll still need to submit the medical forms each year, Nate says. “The medical forms are purged annually. The BOH requires one dated within the last year.”

Registration for Camp at the Camp opens on Monday, March 11, 2019, and last year, spaces filled up fast. With a keyboard on your side, you’ll get ahead (don’t worry, there are plenty of amazing camp options available for different schedules, themes and ages).

For the Pool Membership, this one is pretty easy. But if you put it off, as I did last year, you might miss out on the ability to have a summer pool membership, and end up limiting yourself (and your family) to the option of buying daily passes. With last year’s seemingly endless thunder rolls, which require everyone to clear the pool for 30 minutes, it can make paying for a day pass disheartening. Thunder can be such bummer if you need to leave the pool right after you paid for your family to get in, then you have to wait 30 minutes to get back in. (BTW, this thunder policy is the same at any pool, including Beacon’s River Pool and All Sport.) Tack on maybe another 30 minutes if another rumble of thunder happens. With the seasonal Pool Membership, no need to scrape together the dollars each time.

Register Here and Stay Connected

The link to register with the Beacon Recreation Department is here: https://beaconny.myrec.com/info/default.aspx

The Beacon Recreation Department is here to help if you need it: “If you have any trouble creating an account, or need assistance during this process, please stop by the Recreation Center at 23 West Center Street, Monday to Friday between 9am and 2pm and we will help you get your account set up!”

To get alerts directly from the Beacon Recreation Department, be sure you’re subscribed to their newsletter. You can subscribe to the Beacon Recreation newsletter here.

Upcoming Beacon Recreation Registration Dates

Oh man! Looks like the Pool Pass sales have already opened! Better register online quick! Important registration dates:

  • Monday, February 11 - Beacon Pool Passes

  • Monday, March 11 - Camp @ the Camp

  • Wednesday, April 3- After School session 4

Salvation Army Church On Main Street Serves As Warming Center

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According to the City of Beacon’s Emergency Alert System today, in the reminder to everyone not to park on the street in more than 2” of snow (for snow plows), they mentioned that the Salvation Army Church, located at 372 Main St. in Beacon, is open as a warming center to those in need. The Salvation Army also has a Food Pantry, should you wish to donate food to it. The Salvation Army accepts food and monetary donations. Contact Captain Leilani Alarcón by emailing Leilani.Alarcon@USE.SalvationArmy.Org

A couple years ago, we took a tour through the Salvation Army to see what it looked like inside and to learn more about their programs. There are since new leaders of the church (Captain Leilani Alarcón and her husband, Lt. Josué Alarcón). You can click here to see pictures of the inside. The Salvation Army also rents out rooms inside of the church, including a gymnasium. Details on that will be in our Business Directory under Event Venues or the Real Estate Listing Guide.

3rd Free Federal Workers Night At Children's Museum - Mental + Finance Talk Included. Plus, a Look Into Who Isn't Getting Paid

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In what has become the longest federal government shutdown in history, impacting 800,000 people who have gone without pay for almost a month - so far - the Mid-Hudson Children Museum is opening its doors again for another Pizza and Play Night this Thursday, January 24, 2019 from 5 to 7:30 pm. Pizza has been donated by Chef Joel Trocino of Amici’s Restaurant, and this time there will also be chowder from River Station Restaurant, both eateries from Poughkeepsie.

We’ve heard of missed car loan payments and uncertainty about how grocery bills will be paid if the shutdown continues.
— Lara Litchfield-Kimber, Executive Director of MHCM

Financial and Mental Health Options Presented

For this third event, Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is coordinating with TEG Federal Credit Union and Mental Health America to provide information on community resources and services available to furloughed workers who are impacted by the partial shutdown of the federal government.

"When we first conceived the idea of hosting our Pizza and Play nights for furloughed workers, we wanted to provide an evening of normalcy for those federal employees impacted by the partial government shutdown,” said Lara Litchfield-Kimber, Executive Director of MHCM.

“It is inconceivable that the shutdown is still dragging on, but as it does, these evenings seem to be taking on the additional importance of allowing people to come together, talk, laugh and check-in on each other. As staff and board of MHCM, we’ve participated in the the conversations and we’ve done a lot of listening. We’ve heard of missed car loan payments and uncertainty about how grocery bills will be paid if the shutdown continues. While not expressly stated in many cases, we know the uncertainty around the shutdown is creating a lot of stress in the lives of individuals and families, so we reached out to engage community partners who can offer additional support.”

Who Isn’t Getting Paid In This Area?

Taking a micro-look at this area by looking at who attended the past two events at Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, people not getting paid who attended the first event, and some the second event, include workers at the FDR estate in Hyde Park and other national park properties in the area, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (in Albany), a family of a federal officer, and others. About 30 impacted people brought their families, or came solo.

Lots of Americans Live Paycheck to Paycheck

In an NPR interview this week, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz (who studies wage stagnation and income inequality) said that 40% of Americans have less than $400 saved. Many federal workers, like a lot of workers in the private and entrepreneurial sectors, live paycheck to paycheck. According to this NPR story, Amy Fellows, a correctional officer with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, lives paycheck to paycheck. She was able to pay her rent and utilities for the first month of being furloughed, but doesn’t have anything for this month. And that’s just one story. Here are other stories of workers whose spouses were able to work additional hours at private-sector jobs, and who are thinking of leaving their federal jobs for new jobs.

Types of Federal Jobs Impacted

Included in departments not being paid are TSA workers (according to this CNN article), who continue to be required to show up at airports to check for airline security. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration stopped conducting food safety inspections, and then resumed recently. The U.S. Coast Guard is another surprising department not to get paid. The military fell under a different budget, within the Defense Department which was funded in September. But the U.S. Coast Guard’s budget, according to this article, falls under Homeland Security, and they were the first members of the armed forces not to get paid during a partial government shutdown.

Federal Workers Legally Bound to Continue Working

While half of the federal workers are “furloughed” (granted a leave of absence) according to this article at The Atlantic, those who have jobs that ensure the safety of the country still must show up, thanks to the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947. The act was created to prevent federal workers from striking if they wanted better pay or benefits during pay negotiations. The act covers agencies like the Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Transportation Security Agents (TSA) and Border Patrol Agents.

Says Eric Young, president of the union that represents the approximately 30,000 employees of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, this forced labor is “involuntary servitude.” If federal workers strike, they could risk losing pensions they have worked for years to build. Trump has warned that the shutdown could last for months or years as far as he’s concerned.

Federal Unions Filing Lawsuits Against Trump Administration

Unions representing federal workers have filed lawsuits against the Trump administration, saying: “The government is in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, a 1938 law that mandates a minimum wage and overtime pay both to public- and private-sector workers,” according to the article in The Atlantic. Those unions include The American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union.

What’s Next and Where To Get Help

Created for people who need help but don’t know where to go or how to ask for it, there is the Dutchess County Helpline. If you are worried, or can’t buy groceries, or just don’t know where to turn, you could call the Dutchess County Help Line and talk to someone about anything, plus get resources. They can point you in the right direction based on what you need.

CALL or TEXT: (845) 485-9700
TOLL-FREE: (877) 485-9700
Download the app for FREE

If you are a federal worker with a story you want to share about how the partial shutdown is impacting you, you can do so by emailing editorial@alittlebeaconblog.com. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can.

If you work for or run a business that is doing something special to help federal workers who are not getting paid, you can let us know about it by emailing editorial@alittlebeaconblog.com.

Beauty In Beacon As People Respond To Hate Flyers With Interfaith Event: "One Beacon"

Photo Credits:    Frank Ritter Photography

Before Digging Into This Article, Here’s a Letter from the Editor Providing Context:

Letter from the Editor:
The article below was written in November 2018 by Izdihar Dabashi, who attended “One Beacon,” an interfaith event. Before you read about the experience from her perspective, we’d like to bring you up to speed on why the event was created in the first place. Normally, we’d publish this reporting closer to the event, but with the holidays, time got crunched. Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and in the spirit of that, we are publishing this story now.

In October 2018, flyers promoting racism and antisemitism were posted onto two churches in Beacon: the First Presbyterian and Salem Tabernacle. This intrusive act spooked anyone who learned about it or anyone who visits the churches on a regular basis.

In response, clergy of different faiths called each other immediately to show their support, and lead people to a unified place in an interfaith event called “One Beacon.” The event provided a platform for reflections and exhortations from several speakers from the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities in Beacon, in addition to Beacon’s Mayor, Randy Casale.


And Now, for Izdihar Dabashi’s Article Coverage of “One Beacon”

On the 1st of November, 2018, an interfaith event called "One Beacon" was held at the Salem Tabernacle in response to the antisemitic flyers that marred doors of worship in Beacon at the First Presbyterian Church and the Salem Tabernacle, as well as on the grounds of education including Marist College in the Hudson Valley (see this article for descriptions of those flyers).

Speakers at the “One Beacon” event in November 2018, from left to right: Mayor Randy Casale, Pastor Bill Dandreano of Salem Tabernacle, Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek of Beacon Hebrew Alliance, and Pastor Ben Larson-Wolbrink of First Presbyterian Church. Racist and antisemitic flyers had been posted onto the First Presbyterian Churce and Salem Tabernacle. “One Beacon” was the group response to that.  Photo Credit:    Frank Ritter Photography

Speakers at the “One Beacon” event in November 2018, from left to right: Mayor Randy Casale, Pastor Bill Dandreano of Salem Tabernacle, Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek of Beacon Hebrew Alliance, and Pastor Ben Larson-Wolbrink of First Presbyterian Church. Racist and antisemitic flyers had been posted onto the First Presbyterian Churce and Salem Tabernacle. “One Beacon” was the group response to that.
Photo Credit: Frank Ritter Photography

“One Beacon” was planned before the tragedy that occurred inside of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh that week. So it was coincidence that this event to celebrate the idea of belonging to the same community - despite differences of religion, gender, race, etc. - arrived at the right time to act as a balm for the distress present on our screens and appearing in broad daylight on our streets. Mayor Randy Casale and Pastor Ben Larson-Wolbrink said they drew a parallel conclusion once the hate flyers came to their attention: Call the police and call the clergy.

Clergy members in attendance at “One Beacon” included Pastor Bill Dandreano of Salem Tabernacle, Pastor Ben Larson-Wolbrink of First Presbyterian Church, Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek of Beacon Hebrew Alliance, Imam Abdullah Abdul Wajid of Masjid Ar-Rashid, and Pastor Ronald O. Perry of Springfield Baptist Church. Mayor Randy Casale’s wide smile could be found in constant conversation. Additionally, state Sen. Sue Serino and her son made an appearance during the event.

All were welcome to “One Beacon,” but as I approached the Salem Tabernacle, I could not help but be mindful of the scarf wrapped around my head, expecting awkward stares at the Muslim girl in a church. To my pleasant surprise, my tentative gaze was met by welcoming faces ushering me inside the warm church to avoid the November cold. Silver towers of food set atop white-clothed tables were among the crowds of people, and were part of our dinner that accompanied the evening.

I briefly connected my gaze to Ginger, Pastor Bill’s mother, and not a blink later she had me in a strong embrace. Every polite nod or handshake I offered was replaced by hugs, diminishing the boundaries of the unfamiliar.

Attendees of the “One Beacon” event. From left: Rayham Dabashi, Sergio Perez (an art teacher at Beacon High School), and Izdihar Dabashi, the author of this article.  Photo Credit:    Frank Ritter Photography

Attendees of the “One Beacon” event. From left: Rayham Dabashi, Sergio Perez (an art teacher at Beacon High School), and Izdihar Dabashi, the author of this article.
Photo Credit:
Frank Ritter Photography

Past the doors separating the entry hall, the nave (the central part of a church) was filled with greetings and laughter decorating the ivory walls with invisible warmth.

A rogue door covered in chipped paint rested against the stage, in front of where we were to all sit. The stage and area in front of it was lined with dense colorful flowers. Sparse splinters and flutters of the chipped paint from the lonely door disrupted the blue velvet carpet. It was an odd sight, but I ignored the peculiarity.

As I made my way down the seating area where dinner and a presentation on a screen were to be included, I was stopped every few steps by introductions and strangers offering me their seats and spots at their table, the smile on my face never waning as I became increasingly aware of the welcoming nature of familiar faces and complete strangers. Venturing further into the brightly lit space, I was seated at a table across from the clergy of Beacon.

The event featured speakers giving their piece on today’s stinging political climate affecting social patterns, with uplifting music in Hebrew and English between speakers. Pastor Bill highlighted the heavy weight of police brutality, particularly the strained relationship between law enforcement and the black community.

Pastor Bill humorously began a rant on how being pulled over while driving is a nuisance, an inconvenient blip in his day. He listed the first three thoughts springing to mind when he gets pulled over:

  • His insurance price increasing.

  • The annoyance that comes with being late.

  • Where in the world is his registration.

Pastor Bill recalled ranting to his friend on this topic one afternoon. Pastor Bill’s perspective on matters of police brutality changed once his friend of color shared the thoughts that go through his mind when he gets pulled over. His friend’s first thoughts when getting pulled over ring sharp in his mind, and are far more overwhelming:

  • His wallet is in his back pocket, but how should he reach for it (and the registration) if he wants his hands to be in clear view.

  • What is going to happen if he doesn’t find his registration, if he reaches down to grab his wallet and only one hand is in clear view?

  • What is going to happen if he doesn't make it home today?

Presenting to the “One Beacon” event. From left: Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek and Pastor Bill Dandreano.  Photo Credit:    Frank Ritter Photography

Presenting to the “One Beacon” event. From left: Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek and Pastor Bill Dandreano.
Photo Credit: Frank Ritter Photography

From there, Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek steered the conversation to reflect on the murders that occurred in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, victims of an unjust cause. He led a beautiful traditional Prayer of the Dead, translating Hebrew into English, explaining the prayer is meant to seek comfort in God. Pain glistened in several pairs of eyes, the champagne lights illuminating the depths of grief.

Mayor Randy shed hope through comparison of the Beacon we live in today and the version he lived in during his youth:

  • The police riots

  • The clash of minorities and Caucasians in the middle and high school

  • The division of different groups clustered in the elementary schools.

Mayor Randy gave credit to his mentor, late Mayor Robert Cahill, for the reminder that “when people get away from their religion, it leads them astray;” prompting both mayors to seek control and peace by reaching out to the clergy. Instead of covering up hate, directly addressing tension and opening our minds will pave the way to harmony.

From left: Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek, Imam Hasan MuMuin, Waheebah Wajid, and Imam Abdullah Wajid.  Photo Credit:    Frank Ritter Photography

From left: Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek, Imam Hasan MuMuin, Waheebah Wajid, and Imam Abdullah Wajid.
Photo Credit: Frank Ritter Photography

Imam Abdullah Abdul Wajid, an imam of the traditional form of Islam, took his time to reinforce the similarities between the monotheistic faiths and how hate crimes against one religion affect all. As acknowledged by the other members of clergy, he emphasized that no one is safe, saying: “It’s ‘them’ today, and you tomorrow.”

He unraveled the meaning behind a Hadith (a collection of records of sayings, actions, and descriptions given by the Prophet Muhammed), concluding there is good to every situation. The violence and strains of political tension that can surface in mainstream media only push people to stand together for support, as indicated in the way the Muslim community in Pittsburgh raised money to support the victims in the Tree of Life synagogue, and offered to provide security to the temple. Little seeds of hate can only become trees if communities choose to nurture their sinful growth.

While the words of the speakers were enlightening, the strength of the resounding energy ricocheting off the walls in the grand room was overwhelming during Salaam-Shalom, the song title meaning “peace” in Arabic and Hebrew. Voices merged with the flow of instruments, filling the room with brightness as the crowd swayed as one.

People’s thoughts tacked onto a door which became part of the presentation during “One Beacon.”  Photo Credit:    Frank Ritter Photography

People’s thoughts tacked onto a door which became part of the presentation during “One Beacon.”
Photo Credit: Frank Ritter Photography

Through all the music, that same broken door stood there, alone. It was a silent observer of the performances. It stood alone and blue from the hue of the icebreaker topics put on a screen in front of us during dinner, and its frayed skeleton was still present at the end of the event. The analogy of the ugly door was still lost after Pastor Bill pointed it out, proclaiming little seeds of hate grow into overbearing trees.

Pastor Bill clarified that to extinguish the flames of hate, we must introduce honesty. Squares of paper with atonements scratched in blue ink soon masked the ugly door, as lines of people tacked their sins onto the wood, shifting the splintering mess into something beautified by raw honesty.

Every time a speaker stood on stage, half of my attention was fixed on the message they shared. The other half allowed my eyes to wander around the room, in stunning awe of the genuine care and empathy on various faces. There was a complete absence of division among the clergy, the event staffers, and the attendees. The kitchen held the same vibrant energy as the main room - the people supplying the food fueled by the significance of this event.

Clergy members greeted each other with an encouraging embrace as they passed the microphone back and forth on their shared stage. Every speaker used humor to connect with the audience, while not straying too far from the seriousness of today’s social problems. It was clear that the city is working to engage with the community to prevent hate.

The "One Beacon" interfaith event reminded Beacon residents that there are allies and acceptance present in this small city, as evidenced by the many different houses of God peacefully sharing Main Street. The mosque, the church, the temple - all open to providing a sanctuary to a diversity of faiths, unified through a humble city.

No Beacon Free Loop Bus Service (aka Route G) on Monday, In Observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

Photo Credit: A Little Beacon Blog

Photo Credit: A Little Beacon Blog

This just in via a statement from Beacon’s City Administrator, Anthony Ruggiero: Beacon’s free bus service, the “Route G” or the “Beacon Free Loop,” is not running on Monday, January 21, 2019, in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.

Service will resume on the morning of Tuesday, January 22, 2019.